Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Memorial Plaque Dedicated to Sir Peter Heatly at the Royal Commonwealth Pool

A memorial plaque and a meeting room have been dedicated to Sir Peter Heatly at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh. Sir Peter died aged 91 in September last year and it is fitting that this has happened a year after his passing.

A self-taught diver, Peter Heatly dominated the sport in Scotland for more than 20 years and won five Commonwealth Games medals.

A member of Portobello ASC, he was Scottish freestyle champion and record holder over several distances in the 1940s before deciding to concentrate on diving, becoming Scottish champion from 1946 to 1958.

In three consecutive Commonwealth Games, he was a gold medallist. At the Auckland Games in 1950, he won the 10 metre platform and also the silver medal in the 3 metre springboard. At the Vancouver Games in 1954 he won the 3 metre springboard and also the bronze medal in the 10 metre platform and at the Cardiff Games in 1958 he again won the 10 metre platform. In 1954 in Turin he won a bronze medal at the European Games in the 10 metre platform and also competed in two Olympic Games, London in 1948 and Helsinki in 1952.

A distinguished career in sports management saw him become Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland (now Commonwealth Games Scotland) from 1967 to 1971, Chairman of the Scottish Sports Council (now sportscotland) from 1975 to 1987 and Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation from 1982 to 1990. His association with the Commonwealth Games is unique, having attended 17 consecutive Games from 1950 to 2014 in an official capacity as Competitor, Manager, Organiser, Chairman of the Federation and, latterly, as Life Vice President of the Federation.

His commitment to swimming, particularly diving, endured. He was President of Scottish Swimming on two occasions including the Centenary year of 1988 and Chairman of the GB Swimming Federation. He served in many roles, including Secretary and Chairman, on both the European (LEN) and World (FINA) Technical Diving Committees from 1966 to 1988.

He had a strong connection with the City of Edinburgh, serving as a Councillor and was instrumental in the development of many of the City’s sporting facilities. His connection with the Royal Commonwealth Pool was particularly strong serving on the original Planning & Design Group and serving in key roles at most of the Pool’s key events including the Official Opening by HRH Princess Anne in 1970, the Commonwealth Games later that year and again in 1986, the re-opening in 2012 and the Commonwealth Games Diving in 2014 when the Royal Commonwealth Pool became the only venue ever to have been used for 3 Commonwealth Games.

Peter was awarded a CBE in 1971, created a Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh in 1984 and Knighted in 1990. He was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, the Scottish Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2016. 

Claire Rusack, Manager at the Royal Commonwealth Pool, said:  “The name Heatly is synonymous with diving in Scotland with Sir Peter being the most decorated diver of them all. So we’re delighted to be able to commemorate Sir Peter’s achievements in diving with a memorial plaque and the renaming of one of our meeting rooms in his honour.

“And with his grandson, James, continuing to make a splash in the diving world, as well as training at the Commonwealth Pool, we hope it will inspire other youngsters to explore and take up this great sport, especially with the fantastic diving facilities and coaches that we are so lucky to have at the Commie Pool here in Edinburgh.”

One of Sir Peter’s four children, also Peter, said:  “We are delighted to see our Father honoured in this way.

“We know how much the Royal Commonwealth Pool meant to him and it is great to know that future generations will be able to read about his Legacy and that he will have an ongoing link with this superb facility.”

James Heatly, Sir Peter’s youngest Grandchild, who had dived in the 2014 Commonwealth Games cheered on by his Grandfather, had the honour of cutting the ribbon to open The Sir Peter Heatly Meeting Room on Friday, September 16 2016.